Andris Akmentiņš (né Andris Grīnbergs, 1969) is a Latvian poet, translator of poetry, and musician. In 1994, he graduated from the Department of Philology at the University of Latvia as a journalist, and has worked for various magazines and newspapers, as well as in advertising and marketing. Akmentiņš' work was first published in 1988, and since 1994 he is a member of the Latvian Writers' Union. Besides poetry, he has written several collections of stories. In 1992, he received the Klāvs Elsbergs Prize and has received other awards for literature and creative work. As a creator and writer he has been involved in producing and promoting the Annual Latvian Literature Award ceremony, and authored various large-scale events and campaigns. Andris Akmentiņš often performs his poems in the bardic manner accompanied by guitar. His works have been translated into English, Finnish, Swedish and Danish; Akmentiņš translates from Russian and English into Latvian. He also writes lyrics for songs and theatre plays, and has translated songs for films like Shrek 2, Shrek 3, Ice Age, The Simpsons, etc.
Photo: Gints Ivuškāns for "konTEKSTS"
Skolotāji [Teachers]. Riga: Dienas grāmata, 2018.
Zemeņu blūzs [Strawbery blues]. Riga: Zvaigzne ABC, 2011.
Maigi gari rīti [Gentle Long Mornings]. Riga: Pētergailis, 2002.
Trīs brāļi [The Three Brothers]. Chirldrens' book about the history of architecture of Old Riga, Riga: Datorzinību centrs, 2001.
Siltāks kā asara [Warmer than a Tear]. Riga: Preses nams, 2000.
Spēka meklēšana [Searching for Strength]. 1993.
Māja [House]. Riga: Sprīdītis, 1992.
Books to fall for
Poet and prose writer Andris Akmentiņš’ novel highlights the significance of teachers and education in 20th century Latvia. The author strives to single out the heroic endeavours of rural teachers – the nurturing of a new generation of intelligentsia to replace those previously deported and exiled. The author builds his novel as a hyper-lively reality in the modernist spirit which also echoes the atmosphere of Khrushchev’s political thaw. His heroes might misplace their cause and lose their lives, yet they refuse to play the part of the victim getting by instead on their wits and cunning, a characteristic of peasants in Latvian folklore. The new post-war generation and the contradictions of Khrushchev’s era are diverse and interesting themes, demanding a vivid dualism – hunger and the desire to live, modern science and fashion, the theory underpinning the Party versus its true face. Competitive in everything, two sisters intend to uphold the professional tradition of their pedagogical family. The elder of the two, Velta, returns to teach in her native rural school after her studies. Having taught at school since the end of the 19th century, their father is now engaged in writing his autobiography, portraying himself as a prominent figure in the revolution. Their school is assigned a new gifted teacher, Jānis, who throws himself into every task assigned to him. But being idealistic, he soon succumbs under the weight of his duties, burns out and loses his life in a foolish protest against the Party. The long-suffering collective memory – a characteristic of the novel in its own right – is varyingly rewritten within the novel’s narrative frame. The work is written as an epistolary novel; the author’s research included reading several hundred letters written in the 1950s by teachers from his own family and conducting interviews with teachers working in those years.
Rīga, Dienas Grāmata
All rights available
Artist's profile, Andris Grīnbergs // The Council of the Creative Unions of Latvia [LV]
Interview with Andris Akmentiņš // LA.lv, 2018 [LV]
Interview with Andris Akmentiņš // Diena.lv, 2012 [LV]
About the poetry collection Zemeņu blūzs/ Srawberry Blues // Zveigzne ABC Publishers, 2011 [LV]Reviews
Lita Silova, Atmiņas rodas un mainās tieši šodien, review of Teachers // Internet magazine Satori.lv, 2018 [LV]
Bārbala Simsone, Teksts kā termometrs, review of Teachers // Diena.lv, 2018 [LV]
Andrejs Vīksna, Par piramīdām, review of Teachers // Internet magazine Punctum.lv, 2018 [LV]
2009, Prose Readings Award for the story Reibums/ Dizziness
2006, Summit Creative award for the unconventional PR event Dziesmu diena/The Day of Song
2002, Proze Readings Award
2001, Cicero Prize for best social awareness campaign in Latvia
2000, Preses nams prose competition prize
1992, Klāvs Elsbergs Prize